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In Re Marriage of Ponsart

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 12, 1983.

IN RE MARRIAGE OF CONSTANCE LYNN PONSART, A/K/A CONSTANCE LYNN POPOCK, PETITIONER-APPELLANT, AND ANDRE GASTON PONSART, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Marion E. Burks, Judge, presiding.

PRESIDING JUSTICE MCNAMARA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

We are asked to decide whether a petition for an increase in child support after a judgment for dissolution of marriage requires 30 day notice by registered mail pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 105 (87 Ill.2d R. 105).

The parties were married in 1973 and were divorced in 1978. One child was born of the marriage. Pursuant to a marital settlement agreement, the wife was granted custody of the parties' daughter and was awarded child support of $175 per month. The wife has since remarried and has one child from the second marriage.

On December 4, 1981, notice was mailed to the husband at his Colorado address, stating that on December 22, 1981, the wife would seek an increase in child support. Notice was not given to counsel who represented the husband at trial. The husband failed to appear and, on December 22, 1981, after hearing testimony from the wife, the court entered an order increasing child support to $400 per month.

Fifteen months later, the husband filed a petition to vacate the order increasing child support. The petition recited that the notice the husband received, sent by mail 18 days before the hearing, was insufficient. Relying on Cook County Circuit Court Rule 2.1(a), the husband maintained that a petition to increase child support was a request for additional relief and that therefore notice should have been sent in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 105. The petition further stated that the husband was out of the country at the time notice was sent. The petition also recited that the wife's marital and employment status had changed since the entry of the judgment for dissolution, and that the wife was saving the support payments rather than using them for the child's support.

The trial court found that a petition for increase in child support was a request for new or additional relief and required the giving of notice pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 105. The court determined that the failure to give such notice rendered the order of increase void. The wife appeals.

The wife contends that the notice requirement of Supreme Court Rule 105 is inapplicable here because a petition seeking to increase child support is not new or additional relief and that the husband is not a party in default.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides for the modification of any judgment "by the filing of a petition with notice mailed to the respondent at his last known address, or by the issuance of summons to the respondent." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 40, par. 511(a).) The circuit court of Cook County Rule 2.1 provides in relevant part:

"(a) Notice required - Except in actions appearing on the daily trial call or during the course of trial, written notice of the hearing of all motions shall be given to all parties who have appeared and have not theretofore been found by the court to be in default for failure to plead, and to all parties whose time to appear has not expired on the date of notice. Notice that additional relief has been sought shall be given in accordance with Supreme Court Rule 105. * * *

(d) Time of Notice - If notice of hearing is given by personal service the notice shall be delivered before 4:00 P.M. of the second court day preceding the hearing on the motion. If notice is given by mail, the notice shall be deposited in a United States Post Office or Post Office Box on the fifth court day preceding the hearing of the motion."

The wife here mailed notice in conformance with Circuit Court Rule 2.1(d).

Supreme Court Rule 105 provides in relevant part:

"Additional Relief Against Parties in Default - Notice * * *

(b) Service. The notice may be served by any of the ...


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